Travelers to and from Hong Kong are finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel as the government suspends its controversial Covid-19 no-fly policy from today (July 7).
The so-called circuit-breaker mechanism, which prevented airlines from traveling on a particular route for five days in the event that at least five passengers or five percent of the total number of passengers on board, whichever is higher, upon arrival, was seriously injured. Disruptions in the travel plans of many.
Around 100 flights have been banned this year due to the mechanism.
In a statement on Thursday, a government spokesperson said it had suspended the mechanism until further notice with immediate effect.
He noted that the number of daily cases of Covid-19 has risen to four figures since mid-June.
During the same period, the infection rate among arrivals to Hong Kong from abroad ranged between 1 and 3 percent, less than 200 each day.
He added that this represented less than 10 percent of the total number of cases in Hong Kong.
The spokesperson also said it is important to note that more than half of the imported cases can be found by arranging a PCR test in the restricted area of Hong Kong airport upon arrival. Only those with negative test results are allowed to leave for quarantine.
He added that further testing during quarantine checks the vast majority of imported cases, making the risk of infection in the community relatively small.
The spokesperson also announced that the government is ramping up Covid-19 testing for incoming travelers by requiring them to undergo an additional PCR test on the third day after their arrival from tomorrow (July 8).
This is in addition to the current PCR tests they have to take on the fifth, ninth and twelfth day after their arrival in Hong Kong, as well as the daily rapid antigen tests for 14 days. They must also take a PCR test within 48 hours before leaving their flight.
“The government took the new measures after carefully reviewing the relevant data and taking into account how the current peak period for students studying abroad to return to Hong Kong,” the spokesperson said.
“Relevant measures will help reduce the impact on people arriving in Hong Kong, in particular by allowing young people from other places to return to Hong Kong to reunite with their families during the summer holidays. It can also prevent the more accurate and effective flow of imported cases into society at the lowest possible social cost. , while maximizing the pandemic-fighting benefits.
Critics have said Hong Kong’s tough policies on the Covid-19 virus threaten to undermine its status as a global financial centre.